BREAKING: Planning Authority grants permission for controversial incinerator in Cork Harbour

Published by Leigh McGowran on

May 31st, 2018

Permission to build a controversial €160 million waste incinerator in Cork Harbour was granted today.

This is the third time since 2001 that the waste firm Indaver Ireland has proposed the building of an incinerator in Ringaskiddy to take in 240,000 tonnes of waste a year.

Earlier this month, the EU approved new circular economy policies that require Member States to prioritize prevention, re-use and recycling above incineration.

The decision was made by An Bórd Pleanála (ABP) despite the inspector at the third oral hearing on the matter recommending that the development should be rejected.

The decision letter states that ABP has “addressed” the inspector’s reasons for recommending the refusal on issues including the adequacy of the Environmental Impact Assessment and dioxins and health.

The planning authority’s decision has been met with anger by local groups who have been fighting the proposals for 18 years. The Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (CHASE) recently lodged a complaint to the European Parliament, claiming that the Irish State has failed to comply with EU planning and participation law in relation to the incinerator case.

They said that Indaver was in consultation with ABP for three years before they lodged their current application in 2016, and the Oral Hearings and High Court reviews have cost hundreds of thousands of euros.

CHASE chairperson Mary O’Leary said that the Irish Government is “attempting to create further barriers to participation and access to justice”. She said that the local group was “shocked, angry and deeply disappointed” by the decision.

The case has been deferred over a dozen times since 2016. Ms O’Leary said that the “endless delays” was a cause for concern, but that the group “hoped against hope” that ABP would come to the “right decision” and refuse planning permission. “CHASE will examine the full order before looking at what options are open next,” she added.

The Green Party’s representative in Cork South Central, Lorna Bogue, said that she is “deeply disappointed” by the decision as ABP was provided with “several strong environmental reasons” to refuse permission for the development.

In addition, she said that the Green Party has uncovered “misleading” information within the Environmental Impact Statement regarding the “true level of dioxins” that the facility would emit.

Cllr Bogue said waste will have to be imported as Ireland “does not, in fact, produce enough waste to keep this incinerator operating”.

“This is a bad day for Ireland taking responsibility for its own waste and there is no incentive for recycling now,” she warned.

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Leigh McGowran

Leigh is a final year Journalism student at DCU with interests in the environment, radio presenting and film reviews.